Baby teeth may be at risk of developing cavities as soon as they begin erupting into the mouth. Baby bottle tooth decay is cavities that typically occur on the upper front teeth due to breastfeeding and the use of a bottle. Milk, including breast milk, cow milk and formula, contain sugar, which can cause cavities. While your baby drinks milk, it passes by their upper front teeth and can bathe those teeth in sugars. The most crucial factors involved in cavity risk are the amount of milk sugars consumed and the frequency of exposure to those sugars.
How Do You Notice Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?
The first signs of cavities on the upper front teeth may be overly white spots between their teeth or along the gum line. Once a little more advanced, the cavities will appear yellow, brown or black and may chip away with time. Your baby typically won’t feel any pain or sensitivity until the cavities are extremely advanced.
How Can You Prevent Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?
As soon as your baby has at least one tooth, begin using a small toothbrush to clean their teeth after a bottle and before bed
Wipe your baby’s gums with a damp gauze or cloth
Never put your baby to bed with a bottle of anything aside from water, even milk
Always brush your baby’s teeth before bed, after their last bottle of milk
Never put juice or any sweetened liquid into your baby’s bottle
Never dip your baby’s soother into anything sweet
Try to eliminate your baby’s bottle and encourage drinking from a sippy cup around 1- 1½ years old
Never transfer a spoon or utensil from your mouth to your baby’s mouth, as this can transfer your oral bacteria to your baby
Begin using a fluoride toothpaste for your child around three years old, about the size of the tip of a pen
Begin flossing your baby’s teeth as soon as there is contact between 2 teeth
Help your child brush and floss until around the age of 7-8 years old